The promise of genetic medicine is vast. In the future, cancer therapies will better target a specific tumor; couples will better understand their reproductive risks; and once the genetic components of myriad diseases are better understood, potential cures may be just around the corner.
Anyone who's watched more than a few episodes of Law & Order knows how easy it is to unwittingly get a sample of someone's DNA -- a discarded coffee cup, a used Kleenex, a few stray hairs and you're good to go. In Dick Wolf's world, such samples are used to catch the bad guys (or exonerate the good guys), but in real life, genetic code can reveal a variety of information, including what diseases may lurk in someone's future. This type of genetic testing -- known as whole genome sequencing -- has many useful applications. But a report released today by the presidential bioethics commission reveals that many legal issues surrounding genetic privacy have yet to be addressed.
Add this to the approximately 8 billion benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: They could help preserve DNA segments known as telomeres, whose degradation is a key marker of aging. Shorter telomeres are associated with age-related decline, cancer and a higher risk of death (in one study of people over 60, those with shorter telomeres were three times more likely to die from heart disease and eight times more likely to die from an infectious disease). But according to Ohio State University scientists, taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements (such as fish oil pills) can help lengthen telomeres in middle-aged and older adults.
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